The $200 million project, funded by the Rothschild fund Yad Hanadiv, was launched at a ceremony at the National Library on Sunday evening attended by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Hebrew University President Menahem Ben-Sasson, and Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer.
The new building, which will be located across from the Israel Museum and next to the Knesset, should be finished by 2016.
The first step of the digitization project will make 15,000 books available online, which should take 30,000 hours of scanning using state-of-the-art digital technology. Until the renewal project, the library had used a grant from the Dorot Foundation to digitize a total 1,100 out-of-print books and manuscripts.
The material includes books handwritten by Maimonides, posters, old phone books, important photographs, as well as Jewish literature from all corners of the globe in a variety of languages. It also holds one of the richest collections of classical Arab literature, including rare illustrated manuscripts.
Hat Tip and Thanks: Library Research Blog, Unisa Library, University of South Africa